Sunday, January 20, 2008

10 Simple steps to protect Your web site

1. Try to keep index.html file in your folders. This makes difficult the folder contents to web accessible.

What is 'web accessible'?

Sometimes you will see the list of files in the browser when you type the URL to that folder. For example, you have a folder called 'private' in your root directory. URL for that folder will be ''. If you type this path in your browser you will see the list of html files, images, downloads in your browser.

If you keep an index file in that folder, and type the above URL, always the index.htm will be displayed instead of files listing.

2. Robots.txt: If you have any private or members folders this file is a must. It stops the search Engines crawling in to your private folders.

3. Use a good script for form proccessing. Your script should check the syntax of the input before proccessing the input. It should check email format before sending the data for proccessing. This is to prevent entering manipulating data that will do unwanted things like file corruptions, deletions or accessing password files etc.

4. Put all your cgi scripts in cgi-bin. Usually web hosts won't allow you to keep the cgi scripts out side the cgi-bin. So you are safe in that point of view. You don't have a choice so you should keep your cgi scripts in your cgi-bin.

5. Don't chmod any of your files and folders ' 777 '. ' 711 ' prevents the folder contents webaccessible. '777' is the most unsafe file permission on the unix. It gives the whole world the access to your folder and anybody can do anything to your files.

Some of the cgi scripts need to be chmod to '777' to make them work. Most of these are 'data' files for your scripts and resides in your cgi-bin.

6. Select the passwords that are not in dictionary and avoid people names. Use both letters and words with minimum of 10 characters. If you have a membership area tell your members to select passwords carefully.

7.Protect your downloads. There are many cgi scripts to do this purpose.

8. Check the access logs frequently especially when you have members area. This is to prevent password sharing and unauthorized logins.

9. Don't give your username and password to anybody. If you want you can change it frequently. Keep all your passwords in seperate protected folder on your computer.

10. Always 'logout' of your administrative area.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tips on Disk space saving

You have to conserve your disk space otherwise you will end up with upgrading your hosting plan and paying more.

Here are few tips on saving your space efficiently:

1. WYSIWYG html editors:

When you use these WYSIWYG html editors they tend to blow up the the html code by adding excess and unnecessary code.See the two examples below-

The first code was written in WYSIWYG editor. Second was written with notepad.

Code written using WYSIWYG editor:

This is first paragraph.

This is second paragraph.

This is third paragraph.

This is conclusion part.

Code written using Note pad:

This is first paragraph.

This is second paragraph

This is third paragraph.

This is conclusion part.

If we view the web page we will see both above code gives the following lines, but the raw html code is more in the first example-

This is first paragraph.

This is second paragraph.

This is third paragraph.

This is conclusion part.

So always try to remove unnecessary code after you using your WYSIWYG html editor.

2. Images:

* Don't be too fond of images.Necessary images are always be advised to display about your products or services.But too many images fills up your disk space fast.

* Always use '.gif' format than '.jpg'.'.Gif's occupy less space than '.jpg's.

* Try to decrease the size of image with out affecting the clarity and quality.

* Optimize the image files by image compressing software.

3. Use SSI for repeated code:

If every page of your web site contains the similar links, headers and footers you can use SSI to include these files in all pages with out writing the same code on every page.

4. Delete excess data:

If you are enabled web loggers, email accounts, error logs soon these data occupies large area on your server.So try to allot minimum disk space for these utilities.And once in a while delete the mail and logs to clear up some space.

5. Exe, pdf files:

If you have some exe or pdf files (ebooks, help files, company reports etc.) they tend to occupy lot of space.

You can upload them as 'zip' or 'tar' files which occupies less space when compared to exe and pdf.

6. Software installations

Some people install all the cgi scripts because they are free. Think twice before installing the scripts, whether you actually need them or not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How To Get Traffic To Your Site

Sites like,, etc can bring you a LOT of traffic. How about getting 20,000 and more visitors a day when your listing hits the front page?

Getting to the front page of these sites is not as difficult as it seems. I have been successful with digg and (and not so much with Reddit though the same steps should apply to it as well) multiple times and have thus compiled a list of steps that have helped me succeed:

1*Pay attention to your Headlines
Many great articles go unnoticed on social bookmarking sites because their headline is not catchy enough. Your headline is the first (and very often the only) thing users will see from your article, so if you don't make the effort to provide a catchy headline, your chances of getting to the front page are small.
Here are some examples to start with :-

Original headline : The Two Types of Cognition
Modified Headline : Learn to Understand Your Own Intelligence

Original headline: Neat way to organize and find anything in your purse instantly!
Modified Headline : How to Instantly Find Anything in Your Purse

2*Write a meaningful & short description
The headline is very important to draw attention but if you want to keep that attention, a meaningful description is vital. The description must be slightly provocative because this draws more attention but still, never use lies and false facts to provoke interest. For instance, if your write “This article will reveal to you the 10 sure ways to deal with stress once and forever and live like a king from now on.” visitors will hardly think that your story is true and facts-based.

You also might be tempted to use a long tell-it-all paragraph to describe your great masterpiece but have in mind that many users will not bother to read anything over 100-150 characters. Additionally, some of the social bookmarking sites limit descriptions, so you'd better think in advance how to describe your article as briefly as possible.

3*Have a great first paragraph
This is a rule that is always true but for successful social bookmarking it is even more important. If you have successfully passed Level 1 (headlines) and Level 2 (description) in the Catch the User's Attraction game, don't let a bad first paragraph make them leave your site.

4*Content is king
However, the first paragraph is not everything. Going further along the chain of drawing (and retaining) users' attention, we reach the Content is King Level. If your articles are just trash, bookmarking them is useless. You might cheat users once but don't count on repetitive visits. What is more, you can get your site banned from social bookmarking sites, when you persistently post junk.

5*Make it easy for others to vote / bookmark your site

It is best when other people, not you, bookmark your site. Therefore, you must make your best to make it easier for them to do it. You can put a bookmarking button at the end of the article, so if users like your content, they can easily post it. If you are using a CMS, check if there is an extension that allows to add Digg,, and other buttons but if you are using static HTML, you can always go to the social bookmarking site and copy the code that will add their button to your pages.

6*Know when to submit

The time when you submit can be crucial for your attempts to get to the front page. On most social bookmarking sites you have only 24 hours to get to the front page and stay there. So, if you post when most users (and especially your supporters) are still sleeping, you are wasting valuable time. By the time they get up, you might have gone to the tenth page. You'd better try it for yourself and see if it works for you but generally posting earlier than 10 a.m. US Central Time is not good. Many people say that they get more traffic around 3 p.m. US Central Time. Also, workdays are generally better in terms of traffic but the downside is that you have more competitors for the front page than on weekends.

7*Submit to the right category
Sometimes a site might not work for you because there is no right category for you. Or because you don't submit to the right category – technology, health, whatever – but to categories like General, Miscellaneous, etc. where all unclassified stuff goes. And since these categories fill very fast, your chance to get noticed decreases.

8*Build a top-profile
Not all users are equal on social bookmarking sites. If you are an old and respected user who has posted tons of interesting stuff, this increases the probability that what you submit will get noticed. Posting links to interesting articles on other sites is vital for building a top-profile. Additionally, it is suspicious, when your profile has links to only one site. Many social bookmarking sites frown when users submit their own content because this feels like self-promotion.

9*Cooperate with other social bookmarkers
The Lonely Wolf is a suicidal strategy on sites like StubleUpon, Digg, Netscape. Many stories make it to the front page not only because they are great but because they are backed up by your network of friends. If in the first hours after your submittal you get at least 15 votes from your friends and supporters, it is more likely that other users will vote for you. 50 votes can get you to the top page of Digg.

10*Submit in English
Linguistic diversity is great but the majority of users are from English-speaking countries and they don't understand exotic languages. So, for most of the social bookmarking sites submitting anything in a language different from English is not recommendable. The languages that are at an especial disadvantage are Chinese, Arabic, Slavic languages and all the other that use non-latin alphabet. German, Spanish, French are more understandable but still they are not English. If you really must submit your story (i.e. because you need the backlink), include an English translation at least of the title. But the best way to proceed with non-English stories is to post them on where they belong. Check this link for a list of non-English sites.

11*Never submit old news
Submitting old news will not help you in becoming a respected user. Yesterday's news is history. But if you still need to submit old stuff, consider feature articles, howtos and similar pieces that are up-to-date for a long time.

12*Check your facts
You must be flattered that users read your postings but you will hardly be flattered when users prove that you haven't got the facts right. In addition to sarcastic comments, you might also receive negative votes for your story, so if you want to avoid this, check you facts - or your readers will do it.

13*Check you spelling
Some sites do not allow to edit your posts later, so if you misspell the title, the URL, or a keyword, it will stay this way forever.

14*Not all topics do well

But sometimes even great content and submitting to the right category do not push you to the top. One possible reason could be that your stories are about unpopular topics. Many sites have topics that their users love and topics that don't sell that well. For instance, Apple sells well on Digg and The War in Iraq on Netscape. Negative stories - about George Bush, Microsoft, evil multinational companies, corruption and crime also have a chance to make it to the front page. You can't know these things in advance but some research on how many stories tagged with keywords like yours have made the front page in the last year or so can give you a clue.

15*Have Related Articles / Popular Articles
Traffic gurus joke that traffic from social bookmarking sites is like an invasion – the crowds pour in and in a day or two they are gone. Unfortunately this is true – after your listing rolls from the front page (provided that you reached the front page), the drop in traffic is considerable. Besides, many users come just following the link to your article, have a look at it and then they are gone. One of the ways to keep them longer on your site is to have links to Related Articles / Popular Articles or something similar that can draw their attention to other stuff on the site and make them read more than one article.

16*RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing

RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing are all areas in which the traffic from social bookmarking sites can help you a lot. Many people who come to your site and like it, will subscribe to RSS feeds and/or your newsletter. So, you need to put these in visible places and then you will be astonished at the number of new subscriptions you got on the day when you were on the front page of a major social bookmarking site.

17*Do not use automated submitters
After some time of active social bookmarking, you will discover that you are spending hours on end posting links. Yes, this is a lot of time and using automated submitters might look like the solution but it isn't. Automated submitters often have malware in them or are used for stealing passwords, so unless you don't care about the fate of your profile and don't mind being banned, automated submitters are not the way to go.

18*Respond to comments on your stories
Social bookmarking sites are not a newsgroup but interesting articles can trigger a pretty heated discussion with hundreds of comments. If your article gets comments, you must be proud. Always respond to commends on your stories and even better – post comments on other stories you find interesting. This is a way to make friends and to create a top-profile.

19*Prepare your server for the expected traffic
This is hardly a point of minor importance but we take for granted that you are hosting your site on a reliable server that does not crash twice a day. But have in mind that your presence on the front page of a major social bookmarking site can drive you a lot traffic, which can cause your server to crash – literally!
I remember one of the times I was on the front page on Digg, I kept restarting Apache on my dedicated server because it was unable to cope with the massive traffic. I have many tools on my site and when the visitors tried them, this loaded the server additionally.
Well, for an articles site getting so much traffic is not so devastating but if you are hosting on a so-so server, you'd better migrate your site to a machine that can handle a lot of simultaneous hits. Also, check if your monthly traffic allowance is enough to handle 200-500,000 or even more visitors. It is very amateurish to attract a lot of visitors and not be able to serve them because your server crashed or you have exceeded your bandwidth!

20*The snowball effect
But despite the differences in the likes of the different social bookmarking communities, there are striking similarities. You will soon discover that if a post is popular on one of the major sites, this usually drives it up on the other big and smaller sites. Usually it is Digg posts that become popular on StumbleUpon and Reddit but there are many other examples. To use this fact to your best advantage, you may want to concentrate your efforts on getting to the front page of the major players only and bet on the snowball effect to drive you to the top on other sites.
An additional benefit of the snowball effect is that if your posting is interesting and people start blogging about it, you can get tons of backlink

How to Use Autoresponders

Email autoresponders are the most powerful tool to automate the process of marketing products online, and in fact to do business online in general. As I found when I started online, however, there is more agreement about the need to use autoresponders than there is on the specifics of how to use them.

As on virtually any topic related to online business, it is possible to go into great detail about how to use autoresponders. In fact, when a person gets serious about their Internet business, this kind of detail is necessary to separate yourself and your business from the casual users who aren't serious about the use of autoresponders to really make serious money. If you are to that "make serious money" stage or want to get there, you need to check out my comprehensive resource on how to choose and use autoresponders.

However, there is a place for a discussion of a more general nature on the use of autoresponders. To state what may be obvious to some and completely new to others, email autoresponders are special email addresses that return a pre-stored message or set of messages in response to any email sent to the autoresponder address. Autoresponders are are available over a range of costs and come in different forms. A moment's thought begins to reveal the power of this concept to provide information on any topic to anyone, anywhere, instantly and automatically. With that briefest of introductions, what are the uses of autoresponders?

*General information dissemination
*Building an opt-in mail list
*Following up with visitors
*Multi-part courses
*Basic sales
*Customer support

General Information Dissemination

Anybody that has information they want to be instantly available to anyone else might well use an autoresponder, since many are available for free. It could be information about a product you are interested in. It could be instructions on how to use or repair a product that you have. It could be an article about how to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Anything that can be be put into text (and with HTML email, pictures or drawings also) can be sent by autoresponder.

Building An Opt-in Mail List

Just as a brick-and-mortar business loves to build a happy clientele that keeps coming back to buy again and again, so online business want to build relationships with visitors as well as customers so they will keep coming back. Physical stores may ask their customers to provide their name for a store mailing list which alerts them to special sales, etc. The online mailing list is even more important than the physical counterpart, because there isn't an online equivalent to driving down the street and noticing a "Sale" sign in the window of your favorite store. For an online business to compete and survive, it is virtually necessary for the owner to build an email list of people who have willingly given their names, with the expectation that they will be advised about things they are interested in. Building this list can be done several ways, but an autoresponder or email list program with autoresponder functions is usually the tool of choice. You need to be careful, of course, in selecting the autoresponder for this purpose. Some are much better suited to do it than others.

Following Up With Visitors

So you have an opt-in email list started. What do you do with it? A list of names isn’t much good unless you follow up with them about your product offerings. Obviously the basic autoresponder function of responding to e-mail messages isn’t of much value here. You need a function that can send follow-up messages to addresses you already have. And that is one of the additional functions of a good autoresponder or an e-mail list program. It is often called the ‘broadcast’ function for obvious reasons – a message is broadcast to all the addresses in the list at once. Again, not all autoresponders allow this function, and some do it better than others.

Multi-part Courses

Offering multi-part courses is one of several methods to attract visitors to your site. The course establishes you as an expert in some field - even if you aren't! Any good information source can be broken down into several parts and placed in autoresponder follow-up messages, to be sent at whatever interval you choose. This approach is often used as a sales tool. When the student gains confidence in you through the information you have provided, you can then present your product (hopefully related to the course material) and hopefully gain a sale. You can advertise your free course anywhere on the Internet. Included in your instant or follow-up message would be an invitation to join your opt-in list. Do you get the idea of the power of offering a free course?

Basic Sales

Studied have shown that you need to present your product before a potential customer several times to increase the likelihood of making a sale. To do that, you want to give the potential customer a good reason to send his/her e-mail address. Since he/she may not have enough interest simply to ask for more information about your product, you will want to offer some incentive, like a free gift or service. Whatever the method, you want to get the potential customer into your autoresponder message sequence, then, in those messages, send your customer to your web site to make the sale.

Customer Support

This is a large topic. If you are selling information products, you may want to use autoresponders as the product delivery method. You can provide after-sale support information such as FAQs (frequently asked questions), thank-you messages, request for testimonials, etc. There is really no limit other than your imagination to the uses that autoresponders can provide in supporting your customer.

5 Essentials features You should look in a web hosting service

* Password protected directories
* CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
* SSI (Server Side Includes)
* Cron

Password protected Directories

Password protected directories are useful if you want to maintain a membershipsite or download area for your products. This can be done by two methods.

Basic Authentication: This is also called 'Basic HTTP Authentication'.Here you have to keep '.htaccess' file in the directory which you want to protect. This protection can be done by logging in to your control panel and clicking on the icon or text link which says 'Password Protection'. So this method is usually carried by the server.

When a user wants to view the web pages in that password protected folder, a pop-up box comes up asking username and password.

Using Cookie method: This is usually carried by CGI scripts that are installed on your cgi-bin. Some of the CGI scripts also uses 'Basic Authentication.

The script puts cookie on the users computer which logs the user sessions. By this method of password protection you can good control on how users can access your private site.

For example:

* Number of times a user can access your site
* Number of days of access like a month or three months etc,
* Users can assign their passwords and user names
* Users can edit their profile
* You can ban certain users etc.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

CGI is an abbreviation for 'Common Gateway Interface'. CGI adds a lot of interactivity to your web site.

Common Gateway Interface specifies a set of standards how a web user can run programs that are located on a web server from their computer, how a web server communicates with the software program(CGI program) that resides on it and how this software talks back to the web server. Any kind of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to CGI standards.

CGI scripts are commonly written in a programming language called Perl (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language). But can also be written in C+, C++, Java, Visualbasic etc.

CGI scripts can be used to process a simple form to maintaining a membership area. There are many scripts online, which can be used to automate your website.

What can you do with CGI?

* Form proccessing
* Autoresponders
* Mailing list managers
* Order taking, Order proccessing
* Steamline your downloads
* Protecting your private folders
* Easy maintanence of the website
* Tracking your advertisements
* Maintaining an affiliate site
* Counters, classifieds, link directories...There is no end to this list.


MySQL is an open source, relational database management system which can be used in conjunction with scripting languages like perl, php etc.

SQL is not a pogramming language.It is a 'Stuctured Query Language' that is used to send queries(commands) to your database manager to store, alter and retrieve information from your database.

You have to insert this 'query strings(commands or queries) in the cgi program to execute them.

Why is database system is superior than Flat file data storage?

For small sites flat files are OK to store the data.But big sites like or Microsoft, they need some thing that store large amount of data.Here the sql database comes in.

Once the data amount has reached certain point, the performance of the flat files certainly lessens. For example, you have a big subscribers base like 50,000 it is difficult to manage with flat file method. You need a fast and reliable system that can hold so much data with out losing the performance.

PHP which was on the web since 1995, is an abbreviation for 'Personal Home Pages'. Now almost 6 million web sites are using php for managing their web pages, databases and discussion boards etc.

Php and Mysql provides a good hold on database management. It is normally put to use as an html-embedded scripting language for use on the web.

SSI (Server Side Includes)

SSI is including a piece of information by server in to the web pages before they are presented to the browser.

Lets elaborate this a little further. The user requests a document from server.Server looks for the document and its extention. If it is html or htm extention server simply presents the document to the web browser. If the requested file ended with a ' shtml ' extention then it searches the documents html code for any instructions. It follows the instructions and attaches an extra information in to the document and presents to the browser.

SSI-What for?

* run cgi scripts
* include environment variables
* display the time
* include a file


Cron is an automatic task machine. You will use it on your Unix or Linux operating systems.

What it will do for you?

If you want to send tour email cources to your subscribers at 11.30 night, you will set the cron job on your server. And your cron manager sends the one email every day at 11.30 until all the emails will be finished.

If you want to send them on Sundays, you can schedule it with your cron.

You can schedule it to delete your website members with expired accounts.

You can schedule it to recieve an update on your subscribers from your mailing list manager.

See Unisma Hosting Package for more details.

* Request for Quote

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 Basic features You should look in a web hosting service

* Disk space
* Band width
* FTP access
* Good control panel
* Support

Disk space:

Allotment of certain disk space for you means, you are given a folder on web host's server to upload your files.This is same like you create your folder on your own computer.

How much space you are going to need?

* Ask these questions yourself: How many pages to put up to complete my entire web site?
* Am I going to enlarge my web site in future?How fast?
* Am I going to keep '.exe' ,'.zip','.pdf' or audio and video files on my server?How many?

Write down answers on a paper. If you say 10 pages web site, No, Slow, No, None- to these questions then 10MB disk space is more than enough for you.

If you come up with opposite answers to any of the questions then you need an alternative plan.

This is what you can do:

Select a web host with starter plans that provide all basic features with 10-25 MB disk space. After few months you can upgrade to next level with increase of disk space.

* This disk space is for your: Documents like htm files,i mages that appear as web pages to the world
* CGI scripts and their data
* Mysql databases if you are using any
* Your server log files like error logs, webloggers (with some web hosts)
* Your email account and email storage (with some web hosts)

So how much you need depends on your web site requirements. If you are going to put up audio presentations or photo galleries then 10 MB starter plans are not for you.You need a good amount of space.

Band width:

Band width is the amount of data transfered between the server and the client.

Data transfer is the amount of band width your web site uses.

Usually for a beginner (in starter plans), you will be offered 2GB of band width. This is more than enough.

* How much is one GigaByte? 1 GB = 1024 MegaBytes
* 1 MB = 1024 KB
* 1 KB = 1024 Bytes

You have a web site with 12 pages.Each page averages about 10 kb. Daily you will get 100 visitors.On average each visitor surf thru 5 pages.So per day your band width usage is around 5000 kb. (10X100X5). When calculates for 30 days, you will end up with 150000 kb or 150 mb of band width usage.

If you have few more graphics or small downloads on your site this goes a little more high.

Fact about the band width:

There is no such thing like 'unlimitted band width'.

If you read your web host's policy, you might see some rules on using this band width. So always read the terms and conditions before signing up for an account.Most of the web hosts include your email, ftp, http in to your band width usage. For example if you have a mailing list and you sent 20,000 emails every week to your subscribers, all this goes under the usage of band width.

If your control pannel has feature of displaying your band width usage, you can watch how your website using the resources.

Usually the starter plans comes with around 2 GB of traffic.

Some hosts put some restrictions on band width usage:

* Some of them are:They don't allow commercial email advertising
* Big photo galleries
* Installing chat rooms
* using certain amount of system resources like 20% or more.In this case you have upgrade your plan with more disk space or band width

FTP access:

File Transfer Protocol or FTP is the method used to "upload" your web site files to your server.

Three types of ftp access:

* One FTP account is alloted.This is for your personal use. If you want to give access to others you have to share your username and password.

* Multiple FTP accounts are allowed.So you can give your members or friends access to your site with their usernames and passwords.Here you can specify which folders they can have access to.

* Anonymous FTP accounts.Here you can give permission to your visitors or whole world to upload and manage certain folders on your server.Most

Every web host allots minimum of one FTP account.Because that account is for you to upload your files.

You will see some thing like 'unlimited access and 1 FTP account'. Means you can upload files all 24/7, and you are alloted only one FTP account for yourself.If you have partnership site that should allows your friends to access your server then you need more than one account. Or you can share your user name and password with your friends to give them access.

If you want your web site users to upload files to YOUR server then you need a web host which gives you multiple FTP accounts, so that you can offer them to your visitors.

Some hosts doesn't allow you to have anonymous ftp accounts in starter plans. Anonymous ftp has it's own pros and cons. You will have a folder like 'public_ftp' on your server to allow others to login as anonymous and do file transfers. If you are not sure of anonymous ftp it is not advisable to enable it. Because of:

* Security issues: If you keep a folder world read and writable anybody can upload and edit the files in that folder.So be careful before playing with anonymous ftp feature.
* You are responsible for your files and folders not the web host.
* Disk space and data transfer comes under your account.

Control Panel:

Control panel is a web-based interface that allows you to manage your domain through a web browser.

Most of the control panels are with icons that are easily understandable of their purpose.

With a click of a mouse you can do many things with out knowing any of the html or some other programming languages.

* You can do every thing from your control panel like: File uploading
* Managing email accounts
* Managing CGI scripts
* Mysql database management
* Cron jobs etc.

Usually you can access your control panel by typing- or you will get the necessary information from your web host.

You will be given a user name and password to login in to your account. Nobody can change your password or access your control panel. Because the password changing can be done after logging in to your control panel.

Always check the control panel demo before choosing a web host. Some of the control panels has account information, server information and available resources. This would be useful in checking the available disk space or used band width etc.


You don't get any reply for your requests and questions from your host with in 24 hours?

Then change the host!

No...I am not kidding. Support is essential part of the web hosting service. Especially when you are a novice.

But most of the web hosts provide good amount of support to their account holders. So always give an email asking some doubt about their hosting plans or some thing and see how fast they can reply a non-customer.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Creating A Quality Web Site Design!

By: Martin Lemieux (Smartads Owner)

In this article, I will attempt to cover the basics of creating a great quality web design template for your site. Now it's a known fact that the layout or "eye candy" as I put it will determine whether your visitors will stay more than 15 seconds or they will just become another statistic.

That's right, if you don't catch your visitors attention right away, statistics shows us that your visitors will come and go within 15 seconds or less.

That doesn't leave you with a lot of time to grab someone's attention!

Some of you may be asking yourself: Well why does this happen????

See when you think about it, 15 seconds to the "browsing eye" is like an eternity. In other words, it takes about 15 seconds for the average person to browse your main page and determine whether they will explore your site further!

So with that being said; How do we grab your visitors attention????

Every new client of mine is asked to perform the same tasks. I ask them to explore their competitors web sites and look for specific triggers that would make them want to click on or buy right away. More times than none, my clients will notice specific "Headlines" or "Graphics" that
really peek their interest. In doing this, you'll have 1st hand knowledge on what you expect your visitors will see and possibly expect themselves.

Step 2, I'll ask my clients to do one more process just like the previous one. I'll ask them to make a list of all the "eye candy" that really caught their attention and write me a little note as to why it caught their attention. In doing this, it will give your web designer a 1st hand knowledge on what to implement within your site!!!

With these great tasks, you've made your job and the job of your web designer a lot easyer to target your audience.

Sites that sell "Web Site Templates" :

You may have seen some sites that sell your the right for a specific "Template Style". There are 100's of resources out there. I need to clarify something for you, these templates are targeted at web designers only!!! Reason being, the files that you recieve will no doubt require some expensive and time consuming software just to open them.

Now being a designer, i'm not about to "knock" pre-made templates but there's a couple of things you may want to consider:

1) Although the templates you may encounter are very impressive, you will be sharing your layout template with 100's, maybe 1000's of other sites. The reason why they are so cheap is because those "specific templates" are sold and re-sold as much as possible!

2) I've noticed that many template examples out there on the web are extremely "Graphic Driven". This will resuly in "slow loading times". I'm sure we've all come across a site that seemed to take FOREVER to load!! How long did you actually wait for the site to load????

The best way to get a template is to have someone professional design your web site layout for you! This will ensure that your template is uniquely deisgned for your business. It will be easyer for you to make changes in the future. Typically, a template may cost you between
$0-$500 depending on the intensity and added features!

Now, we've talked about "Slow loading pages". I've found a good "norm" to stick with when it comes to size and speed: Web sites are compiled of 2 elements:

1) Graphics & Layouts
2) Programming & Pages

Both of them require memory from your computer when downloading them. If one or the other is too large then this may result in negative results for your visitors.

Here's a good norm to stick with, either you or your web designer should tick with these specs:

1) Graphic Design Layout: Should be no more than: 30-50K in size

2) Programming Pages: Shouldn't be more than: 10-30k in size

Giving your entire web page no more than 40k-80k in size. Anything drastically more will result in the loss of many visitors from slow downloading pages.

Animation: Last but not least, making "some" aspects of you page stand out by adding small size animations. PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT overkill your site with graphics and animation!!! I can't stress this enough, your visitors will most likely get a head ache from it and won't be coming
back very soon.

Instead, try targeting specific promotions or services you wish to attract your visitors to right away! Many sites exchange "animated banners" with other sites to exchange traffic. I personally NEVER take part in adding ANY banners on my site. I honestly feel that banners only take away from the design, not add to it! A typical "Banner Dimenssion" is 468px x 60px.

There are many other sizes!

What I will usually take part in, if any, is smaller, more unique banners that are gueared to complimenting an article or text with it. This is much more effective because study shows us that "Content (text)" accompanied by a "graphic image" is more likely to be read by our visitors than just text on it's own.

Martin R. Lemieux
Smartads - President